Wayne McGregor Random Dance
25 September 2012
I’m unsure whether I should review this at all, being too lacking in the knowledge of the forms to judge. It looked mightily impressive, but it’s a bit like the synchronized diving or the gymnastics at the Olympics. It all looks fantastic then the judges award points (and fractions of points) and you have no idea of the criteria they’re using. But the idea was to review everything, and I’ve started so I’ll finish without letting ignorance stop me.
It’s very much modern dance (period) rather than dance theatre, which is more my interest. In some ways the ten dancers reminded me of seeing dance many years ago, where every dancer had a perfect physique, and both men and women were of uniform height. They were all superbly lithe, fluid and athletic. Nowadays, you’re used to more variety of shapes and sizes (which I consider a positive).
The music is usually my first interest, and I didn’t like the first piece, which was piano and operatic voice. Then the electronic music took over for the rest of the evening, accompanied by a large backdrop of white lights, which changed according to a computer program, I assume. The board had vertical movement too. The electronic music was impressive, but hypnotic, and so somewhat tiring to the ears.
It’s an hour long, and I found the sameness of the minimal costumes (there were subtle changes, but very subtle), dance style and musical palette a little too samey. The virtues are refined and subtle. When we used to go to this sort of thing regularly, there were three or four different styles and pieces in an evening, rather than one. But I’m into dance theatre and after the Cirque du Soleil’s Ka so recently, I longed for a little more dynamism in the production. I didn’t understand the dance narrative but I never do. There was a long middle section where the men seemed to be attacking the women.
It was enjoyable and impressive, though like the synchronized diving, I don’t know how or why. But you shouldn’t have to be able to explain dance.